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How to Build a Data Centre with a Sustainable PUE

21 April, 2017

How to Build a Data Centre with a Sustainable PUE

The data centre industry uses a huge amount of energy, as these colossal facilities operate 24/7/365. The buildings consume a mammoth amount of power, so it’s important to try and build them as sustainable as possible. The design and construction of a data centre can play a huge part in its energy efficiency, so you should be keeping an eye on power and cooling requirements from day one. Not only will this improve the efficiency of the facility and reduce energy bills, but it will help lower your company’s carbon footprint.

Google, which has numerous data centres all over the world, has proven that it is possible to go green and run facilities in an efficient manner. According to the Uptime Institute’s 2014 Data Center Survey, the global average PUE of data centres is 1.7, and Google’s average is 1.12. The company constantly measures and strives to improve its energy usage, setting an example for the industry.

What is PUE?

PUE stands for Power Usage Effectiveness. The data centre industry uses this measurement to decide how efficient a data facility is. A PUE of 2.0 means that for every watt of power used for computing, an extra watt is consumed for distribution and cooling. A PUE of 1.0 is more desirable and means almost all of the energy is used for IT power.

Here are some best practices for achieving the lowest PUE possible and an efficient data centre.

Choose a cool location

Sometimes you don’t have much room for negotiation when it comes to the location of a new data centre. But if you do, it pays to consider cooler climates. This will reduce the amount of power you need to cool the data centre, as outside air can be used for cooling. It doesn’t make sense to build data centres in humid or warm climates as you’ll need a greater level of cooling. Even locations with hot summers and cold winters aren’t ideal, as you’ll still require more cooling for half of the year.

Computer room design

The design and floor layout of the data centre can actually have an impact on PUE and overall energy efficiency. Creating zones and hot/cold aisles is a successful way of reducing energy usage without much investment or effort. The hot and cold aisle approach can successfully reduce the amount of cooling required.

Powering down

For many data centres, the fact is that not all servers are used constantly, but they are constantly consuming power. If there is a way to predict when extra demand will require extra server space, you could practice turning off servers which are not needed. For example, some storage might not be needed for real time transactions or accessed regularly.

Find out more about reducing PUE from our data centre efficiency team.

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